By Dan and Lisa Goy
There have always been road repair and construction on Baja’s main highway arteries. From the very day a road is finished, because of winter storms and summer Chubascos, bridges and roadways can be washed away and destroyed and need to be rebuilt. Add general wear and tear to a highway that sometimes sees little maintenance, and you have the ever-present road construction. Over the past few years, the Mexican Government has taken road construction to a whole new level in Baja, both north and south, as they rebuild and upgrade everything, section by section, piece by piece.
The bad news is, a Baja highway under construction can be horrendous to drive on; the good news is that when it is finished, there will be no more white knuckles, two hands seizing the steering wheel, staring at the road, watching to see where your rear tire is style of driving.
To help you navigate your way through the road construction, here are some helpful hints:
- Go slow. Often the temporary road surface can be poor quality, and this would be a bad place for a flat tire or broken axle.
- Go slow. Often the temporary road construction markers are sparse, confusing, or non-existent. I have been on the wrong side of a detour more than once.
- Go slow. Look carefully for flag persons who are not likely paying as much attention as the folks we experience in the US or Canada. Do not blindly follow their direction and objectively evaluate where they are telling you to go.
- Go slow. Visibility can be an issue if the dust really kicks up. You should not be traveling fast when you cannot see five feet in front of you. Keep the windows up and lights on.
- Go slow. Do not assume the detour or bypass will be two lanes wide just because it has two directions of traffic on it. It will come as a suprise to see that big semi-tractor in the only lane available suddenly turning the corner.
- Go slow. Despite the Slow Down & Do Not Pass signs, many locals will take this opportunity to pass you, why not? Look how slow everyone is going! As they say, be aware of your surroundings at all times.
- Go slow. But not too slow if it has been raining—you really do not want to get stuck right here.
- Go slow. Do not follow to close to the vehicle in front of you, although it always pretty handy to stay with them at a distance if he appears to know where the road is!
As always, there are many small ongoing projects, so remain cautious and try to avoid driving at night. Safe travels!